Archos 5 – Designed by Engineers?

I got my free Archos 5 and spent a very lovely evening playing with my new toy. To be honest, I have very mixed feelings about the device, especially since I got it practically free.  I’m hoping that the good people of Archos will read this post and take some useful info from it.

The device sure has some looks! It may not be iYouKnowWhat but it is sleek, glossy and feels good in my hand. The screen is bright and beautiful though the “touch” part is somewhat sluggish. It started up out of the box no problem and I was pleasantly surprised that after updating the firmware (no automatic notification though) I was running Android 1.6.

As many people noted before me, things are running fast on Archos 5 – noticeably faster than on my MyTouch 3G. The video playback is nice and clear and it is refreshing to be able to watch Flash-based movies.

What is killing the device for me is absence of everything Google. Yes one can use the browser to check email, etc. However, not having Google apps really kills the gadget for me. I would strongly advise (not that anyone is asking) any manufacturer or carrier not to monkey with Google-things in Android. It leaves gaping holes in functionality and frustrates heck out of the user. I’m not even going to comment on Appslib market app. The Google Market could use some improvements but it feels like walking from Bloomingdale’s into a flea market.

My last chance before the gadget hits eBay is to hack it and install missing Google stuff, but really, good engineers of Archos,  please stop reinventing Android where it does not need reinvention. Call Google, try to cut a deal, it will do you much good.

Am I too harsh? What is your take on Archos? What is your experience?

P.S. No eBay. Since I wrote this post few weeks ago I grew rather found of my Archos 5. Installing missing Google apps was super easy and the snappiness of browsing, gorgeous screen and ability to watch movies and read eBooks in bed (and for my little daughter play Flash-based games) is very addictive. Matter of fact I’m thinking of investing another $39 into HD plugin not so much that regular AVIs look bad but it’s just annoying to not being able watch mp4. And with rumored support of 2.1 in the nearest future Archos 5 may turn my favorite gadget.

But still I’m standing by my original point – not supporting Google stack is bad business decision. Yes it may save some hefty $$ at the beginning but loosing your customers due to the lack of official Google support is totally shortsighted especially when your competition is gearing up. Wake up good people of Archos and shell some dineros, pleeeese…

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  • Todd

    As a small business owner who is porting Google Android to devices, I can say that it may not be Archos at all. It’s difficult to get Google to even acknowledge that you exist, let alone allow you to sign up for the Google-branded apps. Achos may not yet have that option.

    • It was interesting to hear your view 🙂

  • Andrex

    So you decided to keep it after installing Google's apps? Good news. I'm always looking around for a new Android tablet and I'm having a hard time between this, the Archos 7 IT, the NotionInk Adam, and Dell Mini 5. They all have strengths and weaknesses.

    That said I'm curious about how stable these things are. I've heard things have improved a lot since launch but it's all anecdotal I suppose.

    good engineers of Archos, please stop reinventing Android where it does not need reinvention

    Interestingly I think they took heed of this. The new Archos 7 has the standard Android app launcher, a more streamlined status bar, and torpedoes the clunky widget for dedicated video/music app shortcuts. They seem to be integrating with Android better. Who knows if it'll lead to Google helping them out.

  • Moombe

    Guys, pay caution. The Archos 7 is not the Archos 5 with a larger screen. The HW specs are not the same…. These are different devices.
    I have an Archos 5 IT too. Very great device for media & web surfing. Android Market works nice but you cannot have access to paid apps and it's never possible to tell if an application you install will work or not on the Archos.
    The battery charging time is really very, very long, and the battery can drop quite fast depending on usage.
    Due to the implementation of storage, some applications like the Android "stock" (ie from Google) music player will not see your music files on the Archos 5 IT storage.
    But it's a great device all in all, and one of the only good Android tablet available (after all, we have seen a LOT of prototypes but so far, as production unit, nearly nothing).

    • A lot of apps e.g. Pandora, Google Listen and others will not work, I don't know why, these will simply crash. Some apps such as Google Sky will come up with totally black screen and nothing else. A lot of games will have weird layouts due to hardcoded smaller screen resolutions. But what works – works well

  • Archos wants Google Marketplace on this device, of course they do!!!!

    I've interviewed Andy Rubin about Marketplace on tablets and laptops, he says it's coming. But please notice that it is not available on any such product in the market today.

    Some hackers have provided a one-click unofficial install to install the full Google apps and marketplace in one single .apk file installation. Just look it up on my

  • vwauditech

    When the Dell mini 5 was leaked I wondered if I could actually use a device that size on a daily basis. Since the Archos 5 is almost the same size I want to know whether you think you could carry it around as a phone. I went over to Best Buy one day to look at theirs, but it was tethered down and I couldn't test it out very well. Thanks for the review.

    • moombe

      Personnally no, a 5" screen device is already too big to carry around in your pockets. I keep on using my nexus one as the phone.

  • david

    i have to say there are a few down sides to my archos 5 when i got it i was like wow but after looking all over for apps and finding that i have the older archos 5 and can not get them due to hardwear changes i dont love it as much but it makes a great pocket player in my opinion

  • interesting. thaks for your sharing. like this :p

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